INGLEWOOD, Calif. (May 10, 2009) — Witty hooked fellow unbeaten filly Carlsbad at the top of the stretch and pulled away in the final sixteenth to win Sunday’s $100,000 Railbird Stakes at Hollywood Park by 1 ½ lengths under jockey Victor Espinoza.
The victory kept Witty’s record perfect in three starts and provided Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella a record fourth victory in the Grade III event for 3-year-old fillies.
“When I ride this type of filly, I have a lot of confidence, especially if she’s trained by Richard Mandella,” Espinoza said. “She’s improving every time and she might be something special. I knew they were going pretty quick up there and it set up very nicely for us.”
Carlsbad entered the seven-furlong event with a five-for-five mark and was slightly favored, but could not hold the lead after a tough opening quarter. She hung on under Tyler Baze for second, finishing a head in front of Will O Way with Ultra Blend fourth in the field of six.
“She was real fresh and that Jeff Bonde filly (Strawberry Tart) wouldn’t leave us alone the first part,” Baze said. “She ran her eyeballs out. I can’t complain — she was just pressured all the way. On the turn I tried to let her get a breather. We were really running down the lane. We just got out-run.”
Witty, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Distorted Humor, covered seven furlongs on Cushion Track in 1:21.74 while rewarding backers with payoffs of $4.80, $2.60 and $2.40. Carlsbad paid $2.60 and $2.40, while the show payoff on Will O Way was $4.20.
“She’s never done anything not to please us training or running,” Mandella said. “You just hope the story continues on. She was the smartest of my 2-year olds last year and again she just keeps going. We’re going to have to give some thought for what’s next.”
Ramona Bass, Adele Dilschneider and Dell Hancock (Claiborne Farm) purchased Witty for $400,000 at the 2007 Keeneland yearling sale. The $60,000 winner’s share raised her earnings to $115,800.
Joel Rosario rode three winners on Sunday’s program to gain a 22-21 advantage over Rafael Bejarano atop the jockeys’ standings through 14 days of the 64-day meeting.
Racing resumes at Hollywood Park with a 1 p.m. post time Wednesday.
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